The task team report
In April 2018 the HPCSA issued a report compiled by the Task Team that worked on the compiling of the new regulations. It provides some indication of what motivated the changes they propose to implement. It makes for interesting reading, but when one compares it to the document they actually produced, there appears to be a disconnect between the intention and the result.
Some noteworthy points from the task team report:
- The need for transformation in the racial composition of the profession, and of the clients of the profession, is given high priority.
- The document recognises a need for transformation in training of the profession.
- The task team recommends a process for transverse registration between categories
- A longer-term plan is envisioned, with profound changes in the professional landscape. The idea of a generalist psychologist at Masters level and specialist categories at Doctoral level is resurfacing. This was under discussion during the early years of this millennium, resulting in a cohort of psychologists that received integrated training. However, the system was never fully implemented, nor is it being implemented now.
- There is a review of the history of the psychology profession in South Africa, of which the relevance to the proposed scope regulation is not apparent.
- The High Court declared Regulation R704 invalid. Regulation R993 (the scope of the profession as a whole) was not declared invalid by the Court. However, regulation R993 is being repealed.
- Attendance by Board members at conferences is presented as evidence of consultation on the matter of scope of practice.
- It is clear that comprehensive data collection and analysis preceded the formulation of the scope document.
- The research indicated the overlap and demarcation between categories within the psychology profession as a problem that they aimed to resolve.
- The Professional Board paid a researcher to analyse the inputs. The task team did not disagree with the conclusion that the function of the scope of the profession (R993) is to define the actions that may not be performed by unregistered persons, and that this serves to protect the public. However, in the proposed scope of practice document, they did not provide an adequate replacement for these definitions, thus leaving the borders of the profession undefined.
- The Working Group on scope of practice made recommendations for the definitions of the current categories of psychologist and for registered counsellors and psychometrists. These are inexplicably different from the definitions that eventually made their way into the proposed scope of practice.
- While the intention of the task team was to merge R993 and R704 into one document, this is not what was done. R704 was reformulated and very little of R993 found its way into the proposed scope of practice upon which the public is now being asked to comment.